Methamphetamine is often referred to as crystal meth, known within a class of drugs as a psychostimulant. Crystal meth has been present in the media for its addictive nature and potentially serious consequences for individuals who use the drug. It has a greater impact on the wider community and families as well. Learn about medications used for addiction to crystal meth and how to get help.
Breaking Up with Meth
It is hard to stop using crystal meth once a person starts using. Part of the reason is due to primary neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is released in the brain when the drug is used.
Dopamine – dopamine plays a role in personal motivation, pleasurable feelings and motor functions. When dopamine is released, the effects of many drugs can feel rewarding. Users of crystal meth are highly susceptible to abuse, addiction and dependency.
Crystal meth is difficult to overcome. The crash can become unbearable to deal with and the high release of dopamine means after the rush ends, depletion of dopamine leaves the individual with cravings to go back and regain the same high. Long-term users have brain chemistry which is so dramatically different that even high doses of meth cannot release enough dopamine to produce desired levels of pleasure.
Complete recovery from crystal meth addiction is available through development of a comprehensive treatment plan. Treatment design will vary on an individual basis. Commonly used treatment approaches often include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency-management interventions (rewards for sobriety)
- Education for family members
- 1:1 counseling
- Drug tests
- 12-step support groups
- Support for participation in activities not related to drugs
The FDA does not currently approve medication for use in treatment of crystal meth addiction. Supportive medications are meant to be used alongside therapy to help ease the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue and depression. Trial studies have been performed with many medications believed to possibly enhance long-term recovery success including:
- Buproprion: used for light meth users
- Modafinil: mixed results without much promise
- Naltrexone: drug may have potential for reducing use and increasing abstinence of meth
- Mirtazapine: along with cognitive-behavioral therapy can cause significant reductions in meth use among men
- Topiramate: may reduce overall meth use but total abstinence was not observed from meth use
- Dextroamphetamine: may reduce meth cravings and acts as an addictive stimulant facilitating safer dosing while mitigating symptoms
- Rivastigmine: may help reduce desire to use meth
- Buproprion: correlated with reduced meth cravings
- Nicotine: administration during meth withdrawal has been shown to reduce meth-seeking behavior in some individuals
The Villa supports individuals in finding their way from addiction to recovery. Call us if you are seeking help to quit drugs or get sober.